Princeton, Hawai’i players make U.S. roster for NORCECA Championship

Photo courtesy of Princeton athletics

The youth movement for the United States will be on full display at the NORCECA Continental Championship with a roster that includes two current college players.

Princeton middle attacker and opposite hybrid George Huhmann along with Hawai’i libero Gage Worsley will be a part of the 14-player U.S. roster for the international tournament that starts Monday in Winnipeg, Canada.

The top three teams at the seven-team Continental Championship that have yet to clinch an Olympic berth or a berth the NORECA Final Four Olympic Qualification Tournament will earn the final spots to the Olympic qualifier. The United States having already clinched an Olympic berth has a roster for this NORCECA event comprised primarily of recent college graduates along with Huhmann and Worsley.

Huhmann earlier this year led Princeton to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 21 years and was named the 2019 EIVA Player of the Year. In addition, he concluded that junior season among the nation’s leaders with a 3.41 kills per game average on a .344 attack percentage and had a career-best 99 blocks.

Huhmann also made the U.S. roster for the FIVB Volleyball Nations League Finals that took place in July.

Worsley ended last season sixth in the nation averaging 2.44 digs per game and was the recipient of the 2019 Erik Shoji Award. The libero had double-digit digs in 12 matches and helped the Rainbow Warriors advance to the NCAA Tournament finals.

Gage Worsley will be joined by his brother and former Hawai’i setter Joe Worsley on the U.S. roster. Joe Worsley is one of five players on the U.S. roster — setter Micah Ma’a, outside attackers TJ DeFalco and David Wieczorek and opposite Kyle Ensing — who earned All-American honors and concluded their college careers earlier this year.

“Our expectation is to be here and play our best volleyball, and hopefully come out winning,” U.S. coach John Hawks said in a pre-tournament NORCECA news conference. “We have a younger group of guys who are looking for a great opportunity to compete in the World Cup coming up, and also looking to make an impact going into the 2020 Olympic Games.”

The United States during the tournament’s pool-play stage will play the Dominican Republic on Monday, Guatemala on Tuesday and Cuba on Wednesday. The top team from this four-team pool will earn a bye to the semifinals, while the second and third place teams will advance to the quarterfinals.

Cuba has already clinched a berth for the NORCECA Final Four Olympic Qualification Tournament. Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala all remain in contention for the final three spots to the Olympic qualifier.

Along with the U.S. roster, there will be an additional current college player competing in this tournament. Purdue Fort Wayne All-MIVA outside attacker Pelegrin Vargas will play for Puerto Rico.

United States roster

Setter: Micah Ma’a (UCLA 2016-19)
Setter: Joe Worsley (Hawai’i 2016-19)
Opposite: Kyle Ensing (Long Beach State 2016-19)
Opposite: Kyle Russell (UC Irvine 2012-16)
Outside attacker: TJ DeFalco (Long Beach State 2016-19)
Outside attacker: Cody Kessel (Princeton 2012-15)
Outside attacker: Brenden Sander (BYU 2015-18)
Outside attacker: David Wieczorek (Pepperdine 2016-19)
Middle attacker: Tommy Carmody (Pacific 2013-14, Pepperdine 2016)
Middle attacker: George Huhmann (Princeton)
Middle attacker: Jeff Jendryk (Loyola 2015-18)
Middle attacker: Mitch Stahl (UCLA 2014-17)
Libero: Kyle Dagostino (Stanford 2015-19)
Libero: Gage Worsely (Hawai’i)